I once heard the saying, ”Why can one mother take care of four children, but four children cannot take care of one mother?” When it is time that a parent needs help and roles between parent and children are reversed, relationships between siblings can become undone. The parent can often be the one who suffers.
Some adult children are too busy, too messed up, too self-centered, or just plain don’t care about their parent. This doesn’t mean other siblings are not as busy or preoccupied, but they are more concerned about their parent and make an effort to help them. Good or bad, taking care of elderly parents often falls on daughters and daughters-in-law.
What should you do if your sibling is always “too busy” to help?
Have your sibling do tasks for your parent that they can do on evenings and weekends. Paying bills are a good example.
If your sibling won’t contribute time, maybe they will contribute money to hire people to do what they are unable/unwilling to do. An elderly concierge can take their place.
Use services such as grocery delivery, transportation services, etc. if your parent is able to pay for these services. Save important errands like doctor’s office visits that are more personal for you to do.
Independent living facilities offer chore services to their residents. If your parent’s need becomes a daily chore, this may be a good option.
Remember, when your parent has passed away, you will have the peace of mind in knowing that you did what you could when they were alive. Take comfort in that.
Julie Katz is a former nursing home administrator and owner of The Extra Daughter, a concierge service for older adults.